How To Use Gmail & Google Docs Instead of Adobe Reader

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view pdf in gmailI love Adobe PDF files. I love the format, the features and their ease of use. But I have never really bonded with Adobe Reader or FoxIt and to be honest, I am not a big fan of overloading my computer with too many bloated software programs in the first place. If I can find an online equivalent to do the job then I am a happy camper.

So with the news that Gmail now supports the reading of PDF files, I realised I could now do away with Adobe Reader being on my computer altogether. Hurray! Goodbye Reader and thanks for all the bloat!

Being sent a PDF file by email? View PDF in Gmail.

If someone now sends me a PDF file by email, all I have to do is click the “view” button in Gmail. This then sends the file to my Google Docs account for viewing (you may have to log into Google Docs first)

gmail pdf view

After logging into Google Docs, their lightweight PDF viewer immediately opens your file. As you can see below, the viewer gives you the ability to download the file and print the file.

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Plus, just like Adobe Reader, you have the strip down the side which allows you to see thumbnails of all the pages so you can jump straight to a particular page.

Once you’ve finished looking at your file, just close Google Docs. Easy. No need to use Adobe Reader or FoxIt or any other installed software.

2. PDF file on your computer? Open it in Google Docs.

But what if the PDF file is not in your email? What if the PDF file is on your computer? Well then you can either upload it to Google Docs or to Gmail for reading in Google Docs.

To upload to Gmail, you can use a favourite tool of mine called Backup to email (or gmail) which integrates into your Explorer right-click menu. Then when you have uploaded the PDF file to Gmail, repeat stage one to view your file in Google Docs. You can also use Gmail as a nice little storage facility for your PDF files long term.

To upload your file from your computer to Google Docs (cutting out Gmail), Docs provides a variety of ways to get your file there. The easiest route is to go to Google Docs and use their file uploading tool.  The only snag with uploading it to the Google Docs server is that there is a 10MB file size limit.

open pdf in google docs

If you do a bit of online searching, you can also find things such as a desktop tool to quickly upload documents.

Then again, once your PDF file is in Docs, just use their lightweight viewer to open it.    When you have finished and you don’t want to keep the file online, just delete it.   You will still have the original file on your computer.

What is absolutely amazing is the crystal clear picture quality and the very fast loading speeds that Google Docs provides. It really does put Adobe Reader to shame.

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Comments (16)
  • Jaimini Ram

    google docs does not support PDF digital signatures – it just flattens it into an image!

  • MichaelLarsen

    The only issue I have with Google docs is you can only upload a I think it is 10MB and that is great for most pdfs, but on occasion I have the need to up load a 30MB file to review.

  • qawd

    LOL !! You are dull !!!

  • Jay Godse

    This is a great benefit for Google Apps. It means that one does not have to have Acrobat Reader running to properly render a PDF document. It means that all PDFs can be handled within the web browser. I’m going to bet that Google’s PDF renderer takes up much less memory than other PDF readers, and that is a boon to those of us with old and/or weak computers.

  • Miguel Wickert

    Yes! Thanks for sharing, I should get rid of it as well. :)

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.